Software, Robots, Friday Updates, Automation and Ethics

Software, Robots, Friday Updates, Automation and Ethics

It’s Friday before Memorial Day and I’m catching up on a number of items I’ve read this week concerning automation and ethics.

  • GPR
  • AI (Eric Schmidt / Elon Musk)
  • Robot Market
  • Automation Tsunami
  • Rockwell Automation OPC UA
  • Schneider Electric Triconex
  • Peaceful Fruit

GDPR

Marketing people lust after your information. Trust me, I was in the business. If a magazine or website can collect your email address and provide (sell) it to a marketer, fantastic. If they can add name, company, address, and telephone number(s), all the better.

Some companies have treated you (us) like a commodity to be harvested and sold. Now in the wake of the European GDPR regulation, companies have been flooding us with emails telling us that, while in the past they may have done all that to us, in the future they’ll do less of it—maybe. Makes me wonder about all of them.

As for me—I have an email list of people who have signed up for my occasional newsletter. I use them only for that. No one besides me sees it.

Artificial Intelligence

Remember the old Groucho Marx line, “Military intelligence is an oxymoron”? Well, how about adapting the phrase to modern times? “Artificial Intelligence is an oxymoron.”

I wrote a little about that yesterday. Scanning my news items today, I see Eric Schmidt contesting with Elon Musk on the subject—“Elon is just plain wrong.” Yep.

Robot Market

According to Tractica, a market intelligence firm, Consumer Robots, Enterprise Robots, Autonomous Vehicles, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are expanding their share of the $52.7 billion annual robotics market.

A new report finds non-industrial robots represented 70% of the $39.3 billion robotics market globally in 2017, growing from a 64% share in 2016. By the end of 2018, the market intelligence firm expects that non-industrial robots will rise to 76% of the total market, which will have grown to $52.7 billion by that time.

Tractica’s analysis finds that most robotics industry growth is being driven by segments like consumer, enterprise, healthcare, military, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and autonomous vehicles.

The epicenter of robotics continues to shift from the traditional centers of Japan and Europe toward the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) hotbeds of Silicon Valley and China. ”

Tractica’s report, “Robotics Market Forecasts”, covers the global market for robotics, including consumer robots, enterprise robots, industrial robots, healthcare robots, military robots, UAVs, and autonomous vehicles. These categories are further segmented into 23 robot application markets. Market data within the report includes robot shipments and revenue segmented by world region, application market, and enabling technology. The technologies included in the attach rate analysis are machine vision, voice/speech recognition, gesture recognition, and tactile sensors. The forecast period for this report extends from 2017 through 2025. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’’s website.

“Automation Tsunami”

Steve Levine in Axios Future of Work newsletter reports, “There is barely a peep from Washington in response to a widely forecast social and economic tsunami resulting from automation, including the potential for decades of flat wages and joblessness. But cities and regions are starting to act on their own.”

What’s happening: In Indianapolis, about 338,000 people are at high risk of automation taking their jobs, according to a new report. In Phoenix, the number is 650,000. In both cases, that’s 35% of the workforce. In northeastern Ohio, about 40,000 workers are at high risk.

Check it out on his website. I have mixed feelings on the issue. On the one hand automation has replaced humans in dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks. And…we are facing a coming labor shortage if demographic data suggestions hold out and politics inhibits immigration. On the other hand, we do have short term crises for people who can’t find work. That is a very real social and personal problem.

Rockwell OPC UA

I’ve written a couple of times lately about how Rockwell Automation has switched direction and adopted standard technologies OPC UA and TSN. It has just informed me that its FactoryTalk Linx software allows OPC UA communications across industrial IoT technologies from different vendors.

Companies can now take advantage of the OPC UA standard in Rockwell Automation products to achieve interoperability among their industrial IoT devices. Support for the vendor-neutral standard is provided through the FactoryTalk Linx communications software, which allows Rockwell Automation and third-party products to exchange data.

Schneider Electric Tricon update

Schneider Electric has released Tricon CX version 11.3, the most powerful version of its EcoStruxure Triconex safety instrumented system. This version embeds cybersecurity features within its flagship process safety system.

Peaceful Fruits

I am interested in good products, ethically produced, that perform a social good. I’ve invested in a local coffee house that buys coffee from a distributor/roaster who buys directly from the farmer. Not only does the farmer (and his workers) earn a living wage, the coffee is ethically grown, and also tastes great.

A message came my way this week about Peaceful Fruits. This young man joined the Peace Corps and worked every day for two years to make an impact on people’s lives in the Amazon rainforest. Living in the Suriname jungle, he worked jointly with indigenous tribes to build systems to preserve independence and sustainability.

It was here that Evan first tasted the acai berry — which grows naturally in the rainforest — and he decided to take the first step in helping to make advances in the food industry.

As the founder of Peaceful Fruits, an Akron, Ohio-based company specializing in whole fruit snacks, Evan speaks to this generation’s pursuit of nutrient-friendly, label-accurate, and eco-sensitive food. And with childhood obesity skyrocketing, it’s a great time to revisit which snacks our kids are eating on a daily basis. “The snack industry is slowly lurching forward because of increased consumer demand for healthier and more responsible options — and this is an opportunity to teach the next generation of kids that everyday food can be tasty, healthy and sustainable.”

His goal beyond changing the food industry is to educate and empower young people to pursue big goals that have big consequences. “Sure, I’m in the healthy fruit snacks business, but I’m really in the business of promoting wellness, sustainability and a cultural shift in how we think about what we put in our bodies.”

Looking At Technology 2030 Compliments of Dell Technologies and IFTF

Looking At Technology 2030 Compliments of Dell Technologies and IFTF

Living with technology a decade from now. Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future conducted an in-depth discussion with 20 experts to explore how various social and technological drivers will influence the next decade and, specifically, how emerging technologies will recast our society and the way we conduct business by the year 2030.

There is no universally agreed upon determination of which technologies are considered emerging. For the purpose of this study, IFTF explored the impact that Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and Cloud Computing, will have on society by 2030. These technologies, enabled by significant advances in software, will underpin the formation of new human-machine partnerships, according to the IFTF.

Talk of digital transformation is virtually everywhere in Information Technology circles and Operations Technology circles. My long and varied experiences have often placed me at the boundaries where the two meet—and are now increasingly overlapping.

The take on robotics is right on target. And forget about all the SciFi scare stories that mainstream media loves to promote. The future is definitely all about human-machine partnership or collaboration. For example I often talk with EMTs about life in the rescue squad. These people are always in the gym. Our population in the US has gotten so large and obese that they often have to lift 300+ lb. people who haven’t the strength to help themselves up. Think about a robot assistant helping the EMT.

The AI discussion is also fraught with prominent people like Ray Kurzweil or Elon Musk giving dystopian SciFi views of the future. We are a long way from “intelligence.” Where we are is really the use of machine learning and neural networks that help machines (and us) learn by deciphering recurring patterns.

Back to the study, the authors state, “If we start to approach the next decade as one in which partnerships between humans and machines transcend our limitations and build on our strengths, we can begin to create a more favorable future for everyone.”

Jordan Howard, Social Good Strategist and Executive Director of GenYNot, sees tremendous promise for the future of human-machine partnerships: “Many of the complex issues facing society today are rooted in waste, inefficiency, and simply not knowing stuff, like how to stop certain genes from mutating. What if we could solve these problems by pairing up more closely with machines and using the mass of data they provide to make breakthroughs at speed? As a team, we can aim higher, dream bigger, and accomplish more.”

Liam Quinn, Dell Chief Technology Officer, likens the emerging technologies of today to the roll-out of electricity 100 years ago. Quinn argues that we no longer fixate on the “mechanics” or the “wonders” of electricity, yet it underpins almost everything we do in our lives. Similarly, Quinn argues, in the 2030s, today’s emerging technologies will underpin our daily lives. As Quinn provokes, “Imagine the creativity and outlook that’s possible from the vantage point these tools will provide: In 2030, it will be less about the wonderment of the tool itself and more about what that tool can do.”

By 2030, we will no longer revere the technologies that are emerging today. They will have long disappeared into the background conditions of everyday life. If we engage in the hard work of empowering human-machine partnerships to succeed, their impact on society will enrich us all.

Robots

While offshoring manufacturing jobs to low-cost economies can save up to 65% on labor costs, replacing human workers with robots can save up to 90% of these costs.

China is currently embarking upon an effort to fill its factories with advanced manufacturing robots, as workers’ wages rise and technology allows the industry to become more efficient. The province of Guangdong, the heartland of Chinese manufacturing, has promised to invest $154 billion in installing robots.

Buoyed by their commercial success, the adoption of robots will extend beyond manufacturing plants and the workplace. Family robots, caregiving robots, and civic robots will all become commonplace as deep learning improves robots’ abilities to empathize and reason. Google recently won a patent to build worker robots with personalities.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Approximately 1,500 companies in North America alone are doing something related to AI today, which equates to less than 1% of all medium-to-large companies. We’re seeing this in the financial services industry already, with data recognition, pattern recognition, and predictive analytics being applied to huge data sets on a broad scale. In a 2015 report, Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated that the AI market will expand to $153 billion over the next five years—$83 billion for robots, and $70 billion for artificial intelligence-based systems.

In addition to their ability to make decisions with imperfect information, machines are now able to learn from their experiences and share that learning with other AI programs and robots. But AI progress also brings new challenges. Discussions surrounding who or what has moral and ethical responsibility for decisions made by machines will only increase in importance over the next decade.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Although both Virtual and Augmented Reality are changing the form factor of computing, there is a simple distinction between the two. VR blocks out the physical world and transports the user to a simulated world, whereas AR creates a digital layer over the physical world.

Despite the difference, both technologies represent a fundamental shift in information presentation because they allow people to engage in what Toshi Hoo, Director of IFTF’s Emerging Media Lab, calls “experiential media” as opposed to representative media. No longer depending on one or two of our senses to process data, immersive technologies like AR and VR will enable people to apply multiple senses—sight, touch, hearing, and soon, taste and smell—to experience media through embodied cognition.

Over the next decade, Hoo forecasts that VR, combined with vast sensor networks and connected technologies, will be one of many tools that enable distributed presence and embodied cognition, allowing people to experience media with all their senses.

Cloud Computing

It’s important to recognize that Cloud Computing isn’t a place, it’s a way of doing IT. Whether public, private, or hybrid (a combination of private and public), the technology is now used by 70% of U.S. organizations. This figure is expected to grow further, with 56% of businesses surveyed saying they are working on transferring more IT operations to the cloud, according to IDG Enterprise’s 2016 Cloud Computing Executive Summary.

While the cloud is not a recent technological advancement, cloud technology only really gathered momentum in recent years, as enterprise grade applications hit the market, virtualization technologies matured, and businesses became increasingly aware of its benefits in terms of efficiency and profitability. Increasing innovation in cloud-native apps and their propensity to be built and deployed in quick cadence to offer greater agility, resilience, and portability across clouds will drive further uptake. Start-ups are starting to use cloud-native approaches to disrupt traditional industries; and by 2030, cloud technologies will be so embedded, memories from the pre-cloud era will feel positively archaic by comparison.

Human Machine Partnership

Recent conversations, reports, and articles about the intersection of emerging technologies and society have tended to promote one of two extreme perspectives about the future: the anxiety-driven issue of technological unemployment or the optimistic view of tech-enabled panaceas for all social and environmental ills.

Perhaps a more useful conversation would focus on what the new relationship between technology and society could look like, and what needs to be considered to prepare accordingly.

By framing the relationship between humans and machines as a partnership, we can begin to build capacity in machines to improve their understanding of humans, and in society and organizations, so that more of us are prepared to engage meaningfully with emerging technologies.

Digital (Orchestra) Conductors

Digital natives will lead the charge. By 2030, many will be savvy digital orchestra conductors, relying on their suite of personal technologies, including voice-enabled connected devices, wearables, and implantables; to infer intent from their patterns and relationships, and activate and deactivate resources accordingly.

Yet, as is often the case with any shift in society, there is a risk that some segments of the population will get left behind. Individuals will need to strengthen their ability to team up with machines to arrange the elements of their daily lives to produce optimal outcomes. Without empowering more to hone their digital conducting skills, the benefits that will come from offloading ‘life admin’ to machine partners will be limited to the digitally literate.

Work Chasing People

Human-machine partnerships will not only help automate and coordinate lives, they will also transform how organizations find talent, manage teams, deliver products and services, and support professional development. Human-machine partnerships won’t spell the end of human jobs, but work will be vastly different.

By 2030, expectations of work will reset and the landscape for organizations will be redrawn, as the process of finding work gets flipped on its head. As an extension of what is often referred to as the ‘gig economy’ today, organizations will begin to automate how they source work and teams, breaking up work into tasks, and seeking out the best talent for a task.

Instead of expecting workers to bear the brunt of finding work, work will compete for the best resource to complete the job. Reputation engines, data visualization, and smart analytics will make individuals’ skills and competencies searchable, and organizations will pursue the best talent for discrete work tasks.

Embedded Computing News From Hannover Messe

Embedded Computing News From Hannover Messe

Amongst the cloud and manufacturing IT booths in Hannover was a sizable booth nestled in the middle housing Arm, the processor company. Here Ian Ferguson, Vice President, Ecosystem Development, met with me to discuss some of the latest embedded computing news.

Arm licenses chips which are optimized to the OS for customer companies to use and customize.

Its software business includes a device manager for small device apps for provisioning and connecting. It has also announced a bridge to IBM Watson.

Its software product, Embed, runs on ARM. Among the areas of focus is smart meters and tracking of small assets. Ferguson also mentioned smart buildings–especially lighting.

Security is a key focus working at the chip level to detect intrusions, “device health”.

News briefs:

• Rapid industry adoption of Mbed Platform with more than 300,000 developers (>30% growth over the past year) and 80 partners

• Arm expands integration with IBM Watson IoT, and partners with Cybertrust and GlobalSign to deliver BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Certificate) flexible IoT security authentication

• Mbed drives IoT business value for logistics, utilities and smart cities as organizations shift to Industry 4.0

Help organizations take advantage of the opportunities offered by IoT data and combine this with their business data to create valuable business outcomes. However, in talking with these organizations, many feel that pursuing opportunities to achieve these business outcomes through IoT opens themselves up to more IT complexity and greater security concerns.

Security and complexity of integration are legitimate concerns that addressed with Arm Mbed Platform. This platform provides the necessary IoT building blocks including, connectivity, device management, security and provisioning with the support of a 300,000+ strong developer community that has grown more than 30% in the past year.

It’s also supported by a growing ecosystem of 80 contributing partners such as IBM, which is bridging the Mbed Cloud with IBM Watson IoT Platform. We’ve integrated Mbed Cloud with Cybertrust and GlobalSign to provide more flexible security authentication for IoT devices.

Mbed Cloud and Mbed Cloud On Premises were designed to provide device management, connectivity and provisioning that customers demand, supported across multiple public and private clouds, on-premises and hybrid environments.

IoT security should be easy to implement, not an inhibitor. The new integrations between Mbed Cloud and Cybertrust and GlobalSign enable customers to BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Certificate) for flexible and secure IoT authentication, leveraging the public key infrastructure they already use. Security should also be built into development, which is why Arm is planning to make its free open-sourced development platform, Mbed OS, the first OS to support PSA-Compliant trusted boot, storage and opaque cryptography.

However, even when security is built-in, software updates are often needed to maintain a strong security posture, which is a challenge when there are millions of devices already deployed out in the field. Through an expanded integration with IBM Watson IoT Platform, its users can now manage, provision and update firmware over-the-air for their IoT devices through Mbed Cloud.

Hannover Messe Finds Itself in the Cloud

Hannover Messe Finds Itself in the Cloud

Walking through one of the Halls at the Hannover Messe, you suddenly find yourself in the Cloud—computing that is. There was Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. The Manufacturing IT section just keeps growing. And getting more interesting.

One interesting aspect—I’m beginning to see articles speculating on the “end of Cloud computing.” Wonder what could come next?

Meanwhile, here is one piece of Cloud news I picked up. Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon company, announced the general availability of AWS IoT Analytics, a fully-managed service that makes it easy to run simple and sophisticated analytics on massive volumes of data from IoT devices and sensors, empowering customers to uncover insights that lead to more accurate decisions for their IoT and machine learning applications.

AWS IoT Analytics collects, pre-processes, enriches, stores, and analyzes IoT device data at scale so companies can easily identify things like the average distance traveled for a fleet of connected vehicles, or how many doors are locked after work hours in a smart building, or assess the performance of devices over time to predict maintenance issues and better react to changing environmental conditions. With AWS IoT Analytics, customers don’t have to worry about all the cost and complexity typically required to build their own IoT analytics platform. AWS IoT Analytics is available today in the US East-1 (N. Virginia), US East-2 (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland) regions, with support for additional regions coming soon.

“AWS IoT Analytics is the easiest way to run analytics on IoT data. Now, customers can act on the large volumes of IoT data generated by their connected devices with powerful analytics capabilities ranging from simple queries to sophisticated machine learning models that are specifically designed for IoT,” said Dirk Didascalou, VP, IoT, AWS. “As the scale of IoT applications continues to grow at a rapid rate, AWS IoT Analytics is designed to provide the best tools for our customers to mine their raw data, gaining insights that lead to intelligent actions.”

AWS IoT Analytics also has features like a built-in SQL query engine to answer specific business questions and more sophisticated analytics, enabling customers to understand the performance of devices, predict device failure, and perform time-series analysis. Also, AWS IoT Analytics offers access to machine learning tools with hosted Jupyter Notebooks through seamless integration with Amazon SageMaker. Customers can directly connect their IoT data to a Jupyter Notebook and build, train, and execute models at any scale right from the AWS IoT Analytics console without having to manage any of the underlying infrastructure.

Using AWS IoT Analytics, customers can apply machine learning algorithms to device data to produce a health score for each device in a fleet, prevent fraud and cyber intrusion by detecting anomalies on IoT devices, predict device failures, segment fleets of devices, and identify other rare events that may have great significance but are hard to find without analytics. And, by using Amazon QuickSight, a fast, cloud-powered business analytics service, in conjunction with AWS IoT Analytics, it is easy for customers to surface insights in easy-to-build visualizations and dashboards.

AWS IoT Analytics can accept data from any source, including external sources using an ingestion API, and integrates fully with AWS IoT Core. Launched in 2015, AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud platform that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices. AWS IoT Analytics also stores the data for analysis, while providing customers the ability to set data retention policies.

Modjoul, Georgia Pacific, Teralytic, Siemens, OSIsoft, Pentair, 47Lining, Domo, NetFoundry, and Laird Technologies are just a few of the customers and Amazon Partner Network members using AWS IoT Analytics to uncover valuable insights within their data and use those findings to innovate across their specialized businesses.

Modjoul is a data invention company for wearable technology that is focused on keeping employees safe. “Our mission is to keep industrial workers safe, whether they’re working in or out of a vehicle,” said Eric Martinez, CEO and Founder, Modjoul. “In an eight-hour shift, we collect data 28,800 times per day from our connected activity tracker worn by each of our employees that includes 40 metrics including heart rate and activity level. With AWS IoT Analytics, we not only analyze all that health data, but also enrich it with location and environmental data, such as outdoor temperature, to get accurate analytics that prevent injuries and save lives. Today, we’re operating better and faster.”

Georgia Pacific is one of the world’s leading makers of tissue, pulp, paper, packaging, building products, and related chemicals. “At Georgia Pacific, our industry-leading dispensers allow us to deliver solutions to customers, not just sell products,” said Erik Cordsen, IoT Program Architect and Product Leader, Georgia-Pacific. “Now we are focused on making our dispensers ‘smart’ by adding sensors and connectivity that allow us to improve customer experience by providing real-time information about product levels and other statistics. With thousands of endpoints continuously feeding in data, we are using AWS IoT Analytics to enrich messages with location and product metadata in order to calculate platform health and value to our customers. AWS lets my team focus on solving the business problem instead of wrestling with technology.”

Teralytic is a soil health company focused on improving farmer’s yield by monitoring and improving the condition of their soils. “We have a network of soil-sensing IoT devices embedded in the soil from which data are collected, fed, and analyzed for us to understand the health of our customers’ agricultural ecosystems,” said Dan Casson, Vice President of Engineering, Teralytic. “We chose AWS IoT Analytics for its ability to filter outlier readings from our calculations and proactively detect issues as they arise so we can resolve them faster. In some cases, we’re able to identify and prevent issues before they occur. With AWS IoT Analytics, we use Machine Learning models to help detect situations where nutrients in the soil are at risk of leeching into ground water or runoff into surface water so the farmer can adjust the watering schedule, if needed. In addition to the environmental benefits, these machine learning models can help reduce a farmer’s costs as well as potentially increasing their yield.”

47Lining develops big data solutions and delivers big data managed services — built from underlying AWS building blocks like Amazon Redshift, Kinesis, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon DynamoDB — to help customers manage their data across a variety of verticals including energy, life sciences, gaming, and financial services. “Because AWS IoT Analytics is designed around time-series data, it’s a great fit for our customers in industrial, energy, and oil & gas, who seek real-time decision support and process optimization,” said Mick Bass, Senior Vice President, Big Data Practice, 47Lining.

Domo is a computer software company that specializes in business intelligence tools and data visualization. “Since our inception in 2010, AWS has been a trusted service provider that keeps up with the demands of our dynamic business,” said Jay Heglar, Chief Strategy Officer, Domo. “We extended our relationship with AWS to IoT Analytics because we wanted a flexible option to enable faster access to machine-generated data for our customers. Through our proprietary connector to AWS IoT Analytics, we are ensuring our customers have access to one of the most innovative solutions, allowing them to leverage machine-generated data at scale.”

Laird Technologies designs, develops, manufactures, and supports wireless systems solutions and performance materials for wireless and other advanced electronics applications. “By combining our long range wireless sensor and gateway products with AWS IoT, our customers have been able to quickly and securely get data from their devices into the cloud,” said Paul Elvikis, Business Development Director for Industrial, Laird Technologies. “Unfortunately, they would often get overwhelmed with the amount of sensor data that would start coming in. Customers would struggle to figure out how to do anything with it. AWS IoT Analytics has been a great help in extending our capabilities to solve that issue for our customers.”

NetFoundry gives its customers and their applications control of their networks without any telco, hardware, or private circuit constraints. “The capabilities of AWS IoT Analytics in enabling the transformation of vast amounts of data into actionable information, without the high costs and steep learning curve of other IoT platforms, enables NetFoundry’s IoT customers to get the ROI they need,” said Michael Kochanik, Co-founder and Global Head of Channel Revenue, NetFoundry.“With AWS IoT Analytics, we can integrate IoT networking capabilities to provide our IoT customers with ‘one-stop shopping’ including data collection, networking, analysis, transformations, storage and visualization. Partnering with AWS enables our customers to get integrated, end-to-end agility, security, performance and cost efficiency at scale.”

AWS offers over 125 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 54 Availability Zones (AZs) within 18 geographic regions and one Local Region around the world, spanning the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the UK.

Avnu Alliance and TSN Developments at Hannover Messe

Avnu Alliance and TSN Developments at Hannover Messe

Hannover Messe continues to reflect the trend of companies joining alliances to develop and promote standards and interoperability. While I did not have an interview with the Avnu Alliance while I was in Hannover, I talked with some members and obtained other information. Avnu Alliance promotes adoption of the Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) extension to Ethernet.

Specifically, Avnu Alliance is a community creating an interoperable ecosystem of low-latency, time-synchronized, highly reliable networked devices using open standards. Avnu creates comprehensive certification programs to ensure interoperability of networked devices. The foundational technology enables deterministic synchronized networking based on IEEE Audio Video Bridging (AVB) / Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) base standards. The Alliance, in conjunction with other complimentary standards bodies and alliances, provides a united network foundation for use in professional AV, automotive, industrial control and consumer segments.

The adoption pace of TSN from 2017 to 2018 was amazing.

I always drop by the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) area at Hannover and check out the TSN Testbed for Flexible Manufacturing. The testbed was developed with two major goals – to show TSN’s readiness to accelerate the marketplace; and to show the business value of TSN in converged, deterministic IIoT networks. Momentum is increasing for the testbed, with the IIC hosting its 10th plugfest in an 18-month timeframe at the Bosch Rexroth facility in Frankfurt, Germany and its 9th plugfest, which was held in Austin, TX in February at National Instruments (NI) headquarters following a joint workshop on interoperability with Avnu Alliance. The TSN Testbed recently integrated test tools from Avnu Alliance members, Calnex, Ixia and Spirent into plugfest activities, and demonstrated interoperability of TSN devices from more than 25 companies performing real-time automation and control automation functions over TSN.

Any Avnu Alliance member is welcome to join the IIC TSN Testbed or to participate in a plugfest. Upcoming plugfests will be held in Austin, TX from June 26-29, 2018 and in Stuttgart from July 24-27, 2018.

The Edge Computing Consortium (ECC) along with members and Avnu Alliance, hosted a press conference to announce new developments surrounding the newly created OPC UA TSN testbed. The testbed demonstrates six major IIoT scenarios mimicking processes found in smart manufacturing settings and utilizing products across different TSN vendors. Avnu Alliance is a key partner supporting the development of the testbed with the ECC in the shared goal of enabling manufacturers to test their products for interoperability and conduct trials of real-world systems as an early check for problems.

Tom Weingartner, Avnu Alliance member and Analog Devices’ marketing director for Deterministic Ethernet Technology Group, represented the Alliance at an announcement ceremony.

Paul Didier, Avnu Alliance member and IoT solutions architect, Cisco delivered a talk at the Industrie 4.0 meet the Industrial Internet Forum, in a presentation titled “Time Sensitive Networks – Where does the technology stand and what to expect”. He will provide an update on TSN and how manufacturers, alliances and liaison groups are working together to advance the technology and its implementation in the IIoT.

Paul will present an additional lecture for the Forum on “Modernizing Your Industrial Manufacturing Network”. The presentation will follow the findings coming out of the IIC TSN Testbed and its capabilities, including information on how manufacturing automation and control infrastructure vendors and key decision-makers can leverage TSN for a variety of operational benefits, including increased connectivity between devices and the ability to extract and analyze valuable information through interconnectivity.

“HANNOVER continues to be a key industry event for both Avnu Alliance members and liaison groups that we work with to educate and increase awareness of TSN as a solution for the growing IIoT,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Leader and Chief Marketing Manager at NI. “Whether through the developments coming from the TSN testbeds, speaking engagements or product demonstrations, our members and partners are committed to creating an interoperable TSN network that gives all industrial devices a more streamlined path to participating in the TSN ecosystem.

Dell’s Commitment to a Legacy of Good Technology Plus People

Much time was devoted last week at Dell Technologies World to Dell’s Legacy of Good highlighting people and companies doing some really cool and worthwhile things. I’m especially impressed with the AeroFarms people (see photos below) who are using IoT to find a better way to grow wholesome vegetables. Hey engineers–maybe there’s a thought in here to spark your next creative interest.

Let me take you on a photo journey through the prominent booth at the DT World Expo floor highlighting a number of projects.

Plastic waste floating in the ocean is fast becoming an environmental catastrophe. Here is someone doing something about it.

How about genetic mapping improvements for fighting rare diseases?

A bug’s eye view with drones to help the honeybee population.

All kinds of wild robot science fiction stories are hitting main-stream media. How about a reality check?

Oh, another main-stream media hype fest–AI. In reality is can be a boost to business not in a scary way.

Here is a manufacturing product lifecycle story.

And the AeroFarms story.

 

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